Printer Friendly

Driving the region's film-TV biz.

"Hong Kong is the entrance to China. When the Chinese take over in 1997, it will increase China's wealth by something like 20 per cent. How hard are they going to rock that boat?"

So asked Julian Mounter, chairman, STAR-TV, addressing the much discussed issue of the upcoming changeover to Chinese government in '97. Baed on the explosion of worldwide media concerns vying for access to the Far East through Hong Kong, there is a global sense that, as Mounter has suggested, it will be business as usual after the transition has occurred.

Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch has recently grabbed a chunk of the lucrative TV pie, winning 63 per cent of STAR.

William Leung, controller of top terrestrial broadcaster TVB, points out that ad dollars are already being tallied from Hong Kong's neighboring Guangdong Province, where they receive the TVB signal for a potential audience of 60 million people. "The government does not prohibit them from receiving us," said Leung. "They receive our signal and put it on cable, much like some of the stations in Canada do with the U.S. We are receiving ad revenue for commercials they know are broadcast in the Guangdong area."

With TVB dominating the Hong Kong market providing direct access to mainland China and leading the world in production of Cantonese language programming (upwards of 5,000 hours annually), it is no surprise that the TVB operations are viewed as more than just a simple terrestrial broadcaster. TVB has announced they will join Turner Broadcasting, HBO ESPN and Austrialian Broadcasting Corporation in a new Chinese-owned satellite, to compete with STAR. And Britain's Carlton Communications is in talks with both TVB and STAR, seeking to gain access to the lucrative Asian market.

STAR, with its headstart in the satellite race thanks to its relationships with AsiaSat, now lays claim to in excess of II million homes across its northern and southern footprints. While STAR and its competitors strive to dominate the overall Asian marketplace, their popularity is slightly less overwhelming in Hong Kong, allowing local programming to further develop a niche that the satellite giants may have trouble competing against.

Jerymn Lynn, controller of public relations for ATV, explained: "Hong Kong is unique in a sense because of prime-time 365 days of the year, we do not have any repeat programs. Over 90 per cent of our programs are locally produced. Not only are we one of the largest producers of Chinese Cantonese-speaking programming in the world for local consumption, but wherever there is the potential for a Chinese overseas population or community, we have a potential market for our video programs. We are just beginning to produce certain programs that are broadcast in Hong Kong, but also aimed at other local video markets."

A third presence in the picture is Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK). "Right now we produce very politically inclined programs. Sometimes very angry programs, and sometimes very sharp criticism," said a RTHK spokesperson. However, he warned that their editorial freedom could be challenged any given day. "We have only a tacit agreement with the government," he explained. It is not a written contract. If the government, any government, wants to take away our right to produce stories, they can do it overnight. It is as simple as that."

And the latest and perhaps most hard fought entry to the Hong Kong market is Wharf Cable, which has finally scaled its licensing hurdle and will launch this October with 20 channels, including both basic and premium services. The exclusive pay-TV service in Hong Kong will join with STAR in a joint package Wharf is fast-tracking its launch with a MMDS delivery system, though its future plans call for switchover to fiber optics as the technology becomes available.
COPYRIGHT 1993 TV Trade Media, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Hong Kong
Publication:Video Age International
Date:Aug 1, 1993
Previous Article:Asian product for the elusive west?
Next Article:Populous country ripe for TV expansion.

Related Articles
Pan-Asian TV a reality.
Censorship, copyrights and constraints.
First MIP-Asia and foremost market.
Spectacular cinema.
Patience can be a costly virtue at MIP Asia.
MIP Asia: what the buyers want.
Hong Kong Pay-TV Race Heats Up.
China TV market looks West. (World).
Hong Kong Cinema.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters